A Characteristic-Hull Based Method for Home Range Estimation

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Recent literature has reported inaccuracies associated with some popular home range estimators such as kernel density estimation, especially when applied to point patterns of complex shapes. This study explores the use of characteristic hull polygons (CHPs) as a new method of home range estimation. CHPs are special bounding polygons created in GIS that can have concave edges, be composed of disjoint regions, and contain areas of unoccupied space within their interiors. CHPs are created by constructing the Delaunay triangulation of a set of points and then removing a subset of the resulting triangles. Here, CHPs consisting of 95% of the smallest triangles, measured in terms of perimeter, are applied for home range estimation. First, CHPs are applied to simulated animal locational data conforming to five point pattern shapes at three sample sizes. Then, the method is applied to black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) locational data for illustration and comparison to other methods. For the simulated data, 95% CHPs produced unbiased home range estimates in terms of size for linear and disjoint point patterns and slight underestimates (8–20%) for perforated, concave, and convex ones. The estimated and known home ranges intersected one another by 72–96%, depending on shape and sample size, suggesting that the method has potential as a home range estimator. Additionally, the CHPs applied to estimate albatross home ranges illustrate how the method produces reasonable estimates for bird species that intensively forage in disjoint habitat patches.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Transactions in GIS, v. 13, issue 5-6, p. 527‐537